Support Us!
$2
$3
$5
Powered by
Got any friends who might like this scary horror stuff? GO AHEAD AND SHARE, SHARE!

SEE THE NEWEST CONTENT BELOW!

SEE THE NEWEST CONTENT BELOW!

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

All Hallow’s Read: My Three Favorite Halloween Books

Over the years I’ve collected quite a few Halloween books—everything from Curtis Richards’ out of print novelization of Halloween to the picture book Halloween: A Crowell Holiday Book by Helen Borten. Re-reading these books becomes a fun way to celebrate the season, year after year.

Here are my three personal favorites, all of which can be ordered online.


13 Horrors of Halloween (1983), edited by Carol-Lynn Rossel Waugh, Martin Harry Greenburg and Isaac Asimov

Is it a coincidence this book was published the year I was born? I’d like to think it was witchcraft. Opening with a fun introduction by Asimov, the collection contains stories by the likes of Asimov, Ray Bradbury, and Edith Wharton. My favorites, and the ones I return to year after year, are Bradbury’s famous and terrifying “The October Game” —if you’ve never read it, do yourself a favor and go in cold— “Halloween Girl,” a heartbreaking evocation of childhood Halloween and Monster Kids, and “Pumpkinhead,” in which a shy new girl shares a terrifying story with her classmates on Halloween. The teacher stops her before it gets too grisly, but when her new “friends” demand she finish it later at a party, they come to wish they’d never asked.

My dad actually read me these stories at bedtime when I was a kid. When I revisit these worn pages each October, I feel like that boy all over again.


Death Makes a Holiday: A Cultural History of Halloween (2002) by David J. Skal

For my money, this is the definitive Halloween book. Skal is not only an esteemed cultural and film critic/historian—his latest book, Fright Favorites: 31 Movies to Haunt Your Halloween and Beyond, is also great fun —but a terrific, witty writer. For instance, from the chapter “The Witch’s Teat”: “Accused witches in New England were subjected to grueling ordeals, but perhaps none so challenging as locating a parking space in modern Salem during a typical October weekend.”

Skal divides his book into essays that tackle various aspects of Halloween, from its eclectic origins (“The Halloween Machine”) to the world of haunted houses, both professional and homegrown (“Home Is Where the Hearse Is”) to the cultural controversies it’s engendered (“The Devil on Castro Street and Other Skirmishes in the Culture Wars”). He ends with “September 11 and October 31,” an insightful Afterword describing the ways a national tragedy impacted 2001’s Halloween celebration—as well as the uneasy relationship between Halloween and the Days of the Dead. (I’d love to see Skal write about this year’s Halloween someday, considering how drastically COVID-19 is sure to impact it.)

Skal manages to touch on just about everything you’d hope to find in a book on Halloween: the Urban legends about candy tampering, and the true case of the father who tried to exploit them when he poisoned his own son to collect on the insurance; the transformation of Salem, MA from tiny fishing port to Halloween mecca; the bizarre “Hell House” phenomenon; and the endless wrangling over “inappropriate” Halloween costumes, ranging from Native Americans and hobos to tasteless recreations of OJ Simpson victim Nicole Brown Simpson. There’s also a fun chapter on “Halloween On Screen,” which includes an overview of the first eight films in the Halloween franchise, as well as notable classics like The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993). Describing Halloween II (1981), Skal writes, “Michael Myers isn’t the only evil afoot in Haddonfield; the only other patient we see admitted [to Haddonfield Memorial] is a little boy holding a bloody towel to his mouth, a razor blade embedded in his tongue. Clearly, Halloween in Haddonfield this year is a total bummer.”

Throughout, Skal weaves in thoughtful analysis and a keen sense of history, grounding the work in the larger context of events such as the AIDS crisis, Watergate, and the Vietnam war. An openly gay man, Skal is also adept at describing the ways the LGBT community has celebrated—and occasionally struggled with—Halloween, “widely celebrated as a gay high holy day.” He details the last night of legendary San Francisco bar the Black Cat on Halloween 1963, when owner Jose Sarria, a drag queen and gay activist, lost his long feud with the local police. When I visited the Castro’s GLBT History Museum and saw photos and artifacts of Sarria, it was thrilling to see evidence of the man and moment Skal had so vividly described.

(Note: this book has been republished more recently as Halloween: The History of America’s Darkest Holiday.)


A Witch’s Halloween: A Complete Guide to the Magick, Incantations, Recipes, Spells & Lore (2007) by Gerina Dunwich 

This is a fun, accessible book for anyone who loves Halloween, whether or not you’re a Wiccan. (For the record, I’m not a witch, but witches are awesome.) Dunwich delves into the history of Halloween and the origins of the various symbols: jack-‘o-lanterns, black cats, owls, broomsticks, and more. She touches on the more unusual customs historically associated with Halloween, like Strawboys and “Thump the Door Night,” as well as similar holidays like Mexico’s Days of the Dead, France’s “Jour des Morts,” and Italy’s All Soul’s Day. There are how-tos for numerous spells and rituals one can perform on Halloween, as well as recipes for the likes of Bread of the Dead and Samhain Wine. There’s also a complete outline for a Witch’s Sabbat and an appendix on Conducting a Séance.

Regardless of your spiritual leanings, you should find A Witch’s Halloween an enlightening lesson on this most unique of holidays.




source https://bloody-disgusting.com/books/3631889/hallows-read-three-favorite-halloween-books/

No comments:

Post a Comment


Support Us!
$2
$3
$5
Powered by
Got any friends who might like this scary horror stuff? GO AHEAD AND SHARE, SHARE!



The Top 10 Streaming Scary Movies of Today (According to Netflix)

Given that Netflix really is the master of their own data, how many times a viewer streams The Ridiculous 6, or what films don't get watched all the way straight through, or how many times someone watches an episode of Bill Nye Saves the World, it was easy for them to come up with the list based on just one percentage: 70 percent.

Got any friends who might like this scary horror stuff? GO AHEAD AND SHARE, SHARE!


3 Frightening Clowns Not from the Underworld or Magical Hell


3 Viral Videos Proving Spiders Are Still Scary as Hell


Stephen King Adores These 22 Horror Films


3 Super Stories on 'Halloween' and Horror That'll Make You Want to Wear the Mask

xmlns:og='http://ogp.me/ns#'